BY MATTHEW HALL
The contentious election didn’t leave Santa Monica unscathed and reports of potential wrongdoing were rife on Election Day.
Reports are circulating on social media that a man was attacked in Santa Monica by Trump supporters, however the story has not been verified. The Santa Monica Police Department said it did not respond to an assault call Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and there’s no record of an assault within the department at this time.
Officers did issue citations to two individuals outside City Hall. According to Lieutenant Saul Rodriguez, two individuals were campaigning/protesting outside City Hall at about 3:55 p.m. The two were on opposite sides of Measure LV and got into a heated argument over their proximity to the entrance of the polling place.
The law prohibits campaign activities within 100 feet of the polling place and at one point, County officials were called to measure the precise distance from the entry way.
During the course of the afternoon, the argument between the two subjects escalated and Rodriguez said they both pushed each other.
“Neither subject was injured, but both demand prosecution of the other,” he said. “The suspects signed private person’s arrest form and were issued citations for 242 PC – Battery.”
Additional complaints were filed about a variety of issues throughout the city including logistical, organizational or technological problems.
Anderson-Warren said long lines frustrated voters at some locations and at locations where two precincts shared a polling place, some voters were confused about where to line up.
Some of the machines uses to read completed ballots were malfunctioning by midday and in those cases, poll workers asked voters to carefully review their ballots before locking them in ballot boxes under the reader machine. Some voters filed complaints stating their ballots were not secured quickly or securely enough.
Poll workers are supposed to maintain a roster of voters assigned to the polling place and the roster is supposed to be updated throughout the day to reflect who has voted. The roster is a public document available to the to the public and complaints were filed alleging it wasn’t being displayed appropriately, wasn’t being updated fast enough or contained incorrect information about vote by mail status.
Anderson-Warren said updating the roster in absolute real time was impossible given the line to vote and that workers did update voter status when they weren’t answering questions from voters.
Aside from the incident at City Hall, she said several additional complaints were filed over Electioneering.
“There were other complaints around town that people were within the 100 feet, and when investigated that turned out either not to be true, or we asked those parties to move beyond the limit,” she said.
She said the complaints were all similar to the kind received every year but the overall volume increased this time.
Votes waiting to be counted
About 8,800 Santa Monica ballots are still waiting to be counted as of Thursday. According to election officials, 3,979 Vote by Mail ballots and 4,833 Provisional ballots are still in the process. That number could increase Friday as a new law allows vote-by-mail ballots to count if they are postmarked by election day (Nov. 8) and received by county officials within three days. The county has 29 days to complete its canvass and certify the vote. There are technically enough votes remaining to alter the outcomes of local races, however, the uncounted votes would have to be nearly unanimous to upend any of the current results.